My favourite inauthentic pasta: Creamed tagliatelle with braised portobello mushrooms.
It seems that I was overly enthusiastic when I claimed that spring had arrived. If anything it feels like winter is coming or at least, as if a rather unmerciful autumn was approaching. But whatever the season, as long as there is food to match it no change in weather can really bother me. On grey days like this, with the promise of rain in the skies and people hasting by with their hands buried deep in their pocket I crave for a hearty meal. For something to comforting while I watch a show on TV. There is something about pasta that creates instant happiness in me. So what else would I eat today but my creamed tagliatelle with braised Portobello mushrooms. The mushrooms are soaked full with the creamy goodness of the sauce they were braised in, scatter with a bit of chopped parsley and tossed with soft pasta, this is all I need to be happy, no matter the season.
I love braising. Much of what I have said about it for my soft leeks in butter sauce seems to be true for this dish as well. Braising needs some time and patience. Especially, When you braise vegetables soft heat is required. But the good thing is that, once the lid is on, only little care is required. You can watch something online, read a bit or do some long needed cleaning and only occasionally add a spoon of water.
For this recipe I use Portobello mushrooms. The braising time depends on the density of the mushrooms. The more water they contain, the less steaming will be required to cook them. You could, obviously, use smaller mushrooms, a nice wild champignon perhaps, but I find this dish to work out better with mushrooms that offer a bit more substance, such as a nice king oyster mushroom.
My creamed tagliatelle with braised Portobello mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms Butter Garlic Cream Parsley (flat leaf) Salt Pepper Lemon Tagliatelle
I use 2 mushrooms for 1 person. I also use about 2-3 tablespoons of butter for one person. If you cook for more people or like more mushrooms, don’t add the butter proportionally, if things drie up, add another tablespoon, but be conservative, we don’t want a greasy sauce.
If need be, clean the mushrooms from grit and dirt (usually there is no need for this, as most of our mushrooms are cultivated in grit and dirt-free environments). If necessary, remove the stem, so that stem and rim of the mushroom level. If you use king oyster mushrooms or similar specimen, don’t cut of the stem … or else there won’t be anything left to eat.
Add about a tablespoon of butter to a pan and add a few drops of olive oil. This needs to be done on medium heat, or else the butter will brown too quickly and might even burn. Once the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms, top down.
Mix another tablespoon of butter with mashed garlic (I use about half a teaspoon for two shrooms) and scoop some of the butter into the open bottom of the cap. Add salt.
Once the top of the mushrooms is browned, turn them over. Do this on medium to low heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over again and scoop the butter from the pan, with the bits of lightly golden garlic, back into the open bottom of the mushroom. Roast on a medium to low heat for another 5 minutes.
Sometime around this stage you might want to start cooking the pasta in salted water, be brave with the salt. Add about half a cup of water and the same amount of single cream to the pan and turn the heat down to low. Gently salt the liquid. Turn the mushrooms bottom down (so that they can absorb the liquid better) and cover with a lid. Braise like this for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. You might need to add a few spoons of water every now and then.
Open the lid and look at what you’ve done. Take a deep breath and enjoy the mushroom aromas. Chop about a hand full of parsley and add to the pan, lower the heat and stir. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and turn towards the sauce. We are looking for a creamy, yet runny sauce. The pasta will absorb a great deal of liquid, so if your sauce has the consistency of a bechamel add more water. You want the sauce to thinly cover the back of a spoon. Add pepper and salt if necessary. Squeeze in a bit of lemon. Add the pasta to a plate and scoop over the sauce. The pasta is hot, so don’t mix it with the sauce directly, or it will split.